Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
My main area of interest is maternal and child health and I have always enjoyed questioning the status quo and thinking critically about ways to improve health through research. These interests converged while I was taking maternal and child health-focused courses during my master's degree. I wanted to learn how to conduct my own research that would have an impact on clinical practice in maternity care. So here I am.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
I chose to study at UBC because I want to be part of a rich academic environment during my doctoral training. The School of Population and Public Health (at UBC) offers a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and a thriving community of researchers working on maternal health issues that enrich the quality of my studies and my doctoral work.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The best surprise about graduate school has been the lasting friendships I've made. It's strange to think that I've made some of my closest friends this late in life; but when you really think about it, when you're admitted into a program with a small number of like-minded people, there's bound to be a few life-long besties lurking around.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
I hope that the knowledge gained from my studies will be used to reduce the frequency of postpartum hemorrhage, prevent complications and improve maternal health.
What has winning a major award meant to you?
Winning the Vanier Scholarship came at a crucial time for me. I had recently given birth to my daughter and was feeling a bit uncertain about how I was going to be able to cope with motherhood and my studies. When I found out I was a Vanier Scholarship recipient, it was just the encouragement I needed to keep moving forward with my research. Feeling like people believe in me and my project has given me renewed enthusiasm in the pursuit of my degree.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Crucially, make sure that you choose a supervisor that inspires you and appreciates your individual perspective. Also, seek out peers that will help to push you to work your hardest. Students are led to believe that graduate school is all about independence and self-motivation. While individual curiosity and personal drive are critical, for me, graduate school has been shaped by the group of researchers and the community around me. If you have a supportive team, you will succeed, and you will have fun doing it.